Think twice before taking the plunge: Jumping from train bridges can lead to serious injuries or even death

It’s summer. Time for long, lazy, hot days. And what better way to cool off than by jumping into one of Canada’s many lakes, rivers or streams? But if your swimming plan includes jumping off a railway bridge, think again! Jumping off of railway bridges is not only illegal, it’s extremely dangerous. Every summer, bridge jumping results in unnecessary accidents across the country. Swimmers can be injured or even killed if they are unable to escape an approaching train. They can also be hurt just from the impact of hitting the water or unknown hazards below. Last summer, a 50-year-old man suffered a punctured lung and other injuries to his chest after jumping off a train bridge in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. The man and a group of his friends were jumping off the Canadian National bridge near Hillcrest Avenue, close to the Rodman Hall Art Centre—a bridge that is 24 metres (more than 78 feet) above Twelve Mile Creek. In May 2014, a group of young people were lucky to be alive after a Canadian Pacific (CP) train approaching a train bridge near Okotoks, Alberta, was able to stop before it hit them. The bridge is a popular spot for youth to jump into the Sheep River. CP works hard to deter Canadians from using their bridges for these sorts of activities by providing education and rail safety programs, as well as through signage and enforcement. “With 46 trespasser fatalities across the country last year, we are too often reminded that many Canadians think they can outrun a train. Consider how limited your options are should you find yourself on a bridge with an approaching train. One should never assume that you’ll spot a train in time to clear a bridge safely,” said Ken Marchant, CP Chief of Police and Operation Lifesaver board member. If the danger of injury or death doesn’t scare you, perhaps a hefty fine will, with federal offences under the Railway Safety Act ranging as high as $10,000, (trespassing fines vary by province). So, stay cool this summer. But when you take the plunge, keep off railway property.